Boardwalk Empire Review: “What Jesus Said” (Season 5, Episode 3)

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Nucky – who is aware that there is a plan to take him out – decides to continue conversations with Joe Kennedy, his Bostonian friend and only member of the Mayflower Grain Corporation that showed interest in partnering up with him. Not a whole lot happens, but there are some interesting dialogue exchanges between the two that do a good job at explaining what both parties are after. The episode as a whole is light on its protagonist, however, in favor of the aforementioned Chalky subplot that eats up the majority of the time. That isn’t a bad thing, though, because those particular scenes are intense and served a purpose. Nucky’s potential death wish doesn’t need to be expanded on for 30 minutes every week.

What does really have to go though are the weekly flashbacks to childhood Nucky. In the beginning they were unique and a refreshing concept for the show, but at this point the scenes aren’t adding much to the plot and just feel like a waste of time. The purpose seems to allow us to sympathize with Nucky, but the flashbacks in particular aren’t revealing anything new to the story that we didn’t already know. In other words, they’re trying to get us to sympathize about things that people already sympathize with. It also isn’t adding another layer to the character, because again, these are all things we’ve come to know and understand about Nucky.

These segments could be going to much more interesting characters too, namely Al Capone and Van Alden, who are disappointingly missing from this episode after arguably stealing the show last week. It’s not all bad though, as at least this week we weren’t subjected to some more lesbian inmate nonsense with Gillian, a character who has been taken as far she can realistically go without becoming useless to the central story.

Despite those little minor issues, I do feel that “What Jesus Said” is the best episode yet in the final season. A fairly sizable portion of the show is dedicated to Chalky dealing with some inner moral conflicts, and Michael Kenneth Williams makes every intense moment must-see television. Furthermore, this is also the episode where we begin to see plot arcs intertwined with each other, which only means that future episodes 0f Boardwalk Empire will ramp up the stakes and become even more entertaining.

I don’t know about you, but I, for one, can’t wait.

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